There was a storm drain that ran from the back of the McDonalds down to the creek, the mouth dribbling into the gully. The chipped concrete around the opening was covered in a scrawl of tags, broken glass and faded burger wrappers. We’d walk into the darkness of the storm drain and the world would be gone, just a pinprick in the distance. Surrounded by the smell of cold stone and stagnant water, the sound of our own footsteps echoing back through the tunnel, our breath loud and warm and close.

I use the past tense, but the storm drain is still there. I’m sure it is.

We used to roam the parks at night, and the suburb where I grew up was wild with parks. We sat on a cold hill and listened to the sound of a thousand teenagers out in the darkness. Out on the rugby oval, across the road from an underage gig at the roller-skate rink. They were a roiling, pulsing mass of sound. We drank cheap vodka and pulled tufts of grass out with our hands and watched a police helicopter light up the oval, stabbing into it with a spotlight.

Have I written about this before? If you read my editorial from issue one of this journal, would this story be there?

Near my house was a butterfly reserve, a winding path that led through a short burst of dense bushland, part of the veins of green that ran through the suburb. Illustrations of butterflies were pinned under plexiglass, along with all necessary information. I must have walked through that reserve 100 times. In one memory, a butterfly with tiger-orange wings lands on my hand.

I don’t believe this memory.  I have the strangest feeling that I never saw a butterfly in that reserve.

These are some of the places I visit when I think of the suburbs. They will always be there. I will always revisit them, change them, add new pieces of colour and beauty. By the end, my mind will probably have transformed these places into something completely different. That’s OK—the suburbs are places that yearn to be transformed.

In this issue of The Suburban Review you will find pieces of writing and artwork that explore these spaces. You’ll see how our talented contributors have sought to bring beauty and meaning to their own suburbs, to their own places of transformation.

We hope that you take the time to seek your own suburb, your own space, your own transformation.

T.J. Robinson